Source: Cavaliers Among 3 Teams To Make Their Pitch To LeBron James’ Agent
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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Four years to the day since the Cavaliers made a pitch to keep LeBron James in Cleveland, team officials made another to bring him back.
The Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns all met with James’ agent Rich Paul over the last 2 days at his offices in downtown Cleveland sources told 92.3 The Fan.
Suns owner Robert Sarver met with Paul Wednesday and Thursday while Mavericks officials, including owner Mark Cuban, and a Cavs contingent that is believed to have included owner Dan Gilbert took their turns Thursday.
Los Angeles Lakers officials arrived in Cleveland Thursday evening and will also meet with Paul after spending Thursday courting Carmello Anthony in L.A.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio was first to report that James had formally begun the process of exploring his options outside of Miami.
Unlike 2010 when the courtship of James was as public as they came with caravans of team officials from the Bulls, Clippers, Knicks, Nets and Heat rolling into the IMG building in downtown Cleveland to make their pitches, the 4-time NBA MVP is letting his agent handle the first round of meetings privately.
James, who opted out of the final 2 years of his contract with the Miami Heat, has made 4 straight NBA Finals appearances and won back to back championships in 2012 and 2013. He came up short in his first season in Miami losing to Dallas in 2011 and the Heat were obliterated by the San Antonio Spurs last month.
The Cavaliers have positioned themselves well to convince James to return by getting 2-time All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to commit to a 5-year, $90 million max contract extension earlier this week. New general manager David Griffin has over $20 million in cap space and can open up even more room for another star if needed and Cleveland just selected Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft last week.
James is seeking a max contract that will pay him in excess of $20 million per season and there are rampant reports of a growing disconnect between James and what Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh might be seeking in new contracts with the Heat.
Continuing to be in position to compete for NBA championships remains a priority for James.
Heat president Pat Riley reportedly spent his day in Los Angeles meeting with prospective free agents but exactly how much cap space he has to work with to improve the team remains a mystery because of the unclear status of Miami’s ‘Big 3.’
While Miami may still remain in the drivers seat to keep James, it’s clear that the thought of him taking his talents elsewhere next season is a very real possibility that Riley and the Heat now must contend with.
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